Included in a series of legislative measures introduced by U.S. Representative Artur Davis (D-AL) designed to address Hurricane Katrina's effects on
citizens/residents in affected Gulf region states is one which would preserve the right of access to cast a ballot in upcoming Federal elections.
The Displaced Citizens Voter Protection Act of 2005 (HR 3734) ensures that victims of Hurricane Katrina have the right to vote by absentee ballot
while temporarily displaced. Its provisions ensure that displaced citizens receive the same voting protections currently available to military and
overseas voters. The absentee ballot voting provisions of the Act apply only to those individuals who certify that:
1) they are otherwise qualified to vote in their original place of residence; and
2) they intend to return to that residence in the near future.
The Act covers elections for federal office held through 2008 and provides that state agencies designated under the National Voter Registration Act of
1993 take steps to notify individuals of their absentee voting rights.
“Our displaced citizens should have the same rights as our soldiers, and for that matter our college students, to participate in their states
elections while they are temporarily away from home. This bill would allow evacuees to assert by affidavit that they intend to return to Louisiana or
Mississippi and to vote in the 2006 and 2008 federal elections by absentee ballot,” Davis said.
Bill text available at www.lis.gov.
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
This legislation and any similar legislation devised to address the situation of "displaced" voters should be closely monitored.
After the 2000 presidential election, the federal government became active in so-called election reform by passing the Help America Voting Act (HAVA).
That legislation has yet to be fully funded, and mandates compliance with its requirements by January 2006.
Of particular interest is the requirement pertaining to access of disabled voters to a "secret" ballot. The visually impaired must be afforded
privacy with any new voting system required to replace mechanical lever machines and punch card machines.
I can't help but wonder how the absentee ballot situation for the displaced voters will preclude voter fraud, long rampant with absentee ballot
voting across America.
Also how will this legislation keep track of such voters who may not return to the affected states?
Of additional interest is the report released by the Voting Commission steered by former President Jimmy Carter and James Baker which recommends
several ideas including a federal - national voter identification card, and cross-states voter registration database (to track voters who may be
registered in more than one state).
[edit on 22-9-2005 by menes]